Abandoning the safety of the well-worn muscle memory of musical you

By Michael Lake | July 23, 2021 |

That was a comment by an attendee at my live webinar this week held for subscribers of my course Improvisation Savvy. He is NOT alone in having been taught that improvisation is some sort of clever manipulation of letters and numbers memorialized on a piece of paper. Unfortunately, he’s much more alone in that he’s…

Answering the question that will lead to the best musical version of you

By Michael Lake | July 11, 2021 |

Silly question, right? Or is it? My reason for getting out of bed every morning to write books, create courses, and produce videos centers around that very question and how your answer to that question directly impacts your jazz playing and the satisfaction you enjoy playing your instrument. I love jazz because it showcases the…

Your mind plays jazz, not your instrument

By Michael Lake | June 27, 2021 |

This is a recurring theme to my writing, interview questions, books, and courses. As Hal Galper famously (to me at least) once said pointing to his head, “THIS is the real instrument we play.” He meant that improvisation comes from your musical mind, not from your instrument. I see evidence of this constently from myself…

An important musical lesson Sheila Jordan can teach us all

By Michael Lake | June 24, 2021 |

I’m producing video marketing for my Jazz Master Savvy product and I was reminded of a priceless clip from my interview with the great singer Sheila Jordan. In fact, I put her clip into one of my ads as an example of some of the gems from my library of interviews and other conversations. Here’s…

How self-discipline can make you a better jazz player

By Michael Lake | June 12, 2021 |

My book Self-Discipline Superpower is sparking some interesting conversations. Thank you to those who have added to that conversation. I’ve been thinking… There seems to be a connection between self-discipline and authentic (real, personal, true, etc.) jazz playing. I’ve been talking a lot recently (for years, actually) about the difference between playing notes and playing…

Left versus right brain in the process of learning to improvise

By Michael Lake | May 29, 2021 |

The left and right hemispheres of your brain have a complex relationship, and that relationship facilitates how you function in every aspect of your life including how well you play jazz. I like to talk about the roles each hemisphere plays in creating art, specifically jazz improvisation. Think of the left side as the analytical…

What you’re missing in most online teaching of jazz

By Michael Lake | May 19, 2021 |

I’m building a new way to distribute all of my content online, and currently focused on how best to describe its value and how it’s different from everything else out there. So I’ve been thinking… There’s no shortage right now of diverse online jazz learning resources, from single source musicians to large sites featuring great…

How to develop your most authentic and best jazz playing

By Michael Lake | May 3, 2021 |

I received an email yesterday from a well-known jazz musician who after watching someone on Youtube “teaching jazz’ on the piano using root position chords on ii-V-I’s asked me… “Is it true that the more stupid and simplistic the delivery is, the more popular it is?” This video had over a quarter-million views, by the way.…

Richie Beirach on how you can develop a good instinctive sense of time

By Michael Lake | April 24, 2021 |

Remember the scene in the movie What About Bob where Bob Wiley (Bill Murray), terrified of being on a boat, is tied to the mast as he proudly yells, “I sail! I’m sailing! I’m a sailor!”? That’s my inside joke with Richie Beirach when we talk about him reading comments from my blog. He might not like…

Quick and easy websites for jazz musicians

By Michael Lake | April 21, 2021 |

I recently created websites for a couple of musicians. And the process reminded me of how simple it has become to create a good-looking site that serves a variety of purposes. So, the question for you is, how’s YOUR website? Have you been feeling guilty about its dated look and limited functionality? Did you start…